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March 12, 2023

Updated: Jan 26


HB 481 – Align School Reading Materials


This was a republican led effort that amends the Reading Materials Fund in the Public Education Code to require that applicant districts must be seeking funds for materials that align with the science of reading instruction; modifying a reference to what constitutes acceptable materials; and appropriates $36.0 million (non-reverting) from the Public-School Reform Fund to the Reading Materials Fund.


This bill passed the house 44 – 15. I voted yes.


HB 547 – Tax Changes


HB 547 is the Omnibus Tax Bill for 2023. As presented this bill consists of 17 different tax provisions, is void of any tax reform, and includes tax decreases/increases for an overall reduction of $956M in revenue.


Below, is a summary of the House Republican Floor Amendment that was determined to be unfriendly and tabled:


  • Provides a $1,000 tax rebate for married couples filing jointly and a $500 tax rebate for single tax filers (same as Dems’ amended bill) Matches the lower Personal Income Tax Brackets for lower and middle income taxpayers and eliminates the two additional income brackets for higher income taxpayers that was in the original Dem bill

  • Lowers the state GRT by ½ of a percentage point over two years (the bill lowers it 3/8 percentage point in 2023 and additional 1/8 percentage point in 2024) as the GOP substitute lowers the GRT by 1/4 percentage point in in 2023 and another 1/4 percentage point in 2024

  • Grants additional tax relief to NM’s small business by including an anti-pyramiding provision and also requiring all business income to be apportioned by a single sales factor

  • Providing for indexing of Low-Income Comprehensive Tax Rebate

  • Extending the sunset date on the income tax exemption for retired military retirement benefits through 2031

  • Increasing the amount of the Child Tax Credit

  • Matches the bill Rural Health Care Practitioner Tax Credit

  • Matches the bill provisions on Medicaid home modifications GRT deduction and GRT deduction for childcare providers

  • Matches the bill on the Motor Vehicle Excise tax Distributions

  • Removes the following tax increases from the bill as presented:

  1. Capital Gain Deduction elimination

  2. The new higher personal income tax brackets of 6.5% and 6.9 %

  3. The changes to the corporate income tax rates

  4. The increase in the cigar tax

  5. The increase in liquor, wine, and beer taxes

  • Removes the “Green Energy Agenda” provisions in the Dems’ bill:

  1. Electric Vehicle, and Plug-In Hybrid automobile tax credits

  2. Electric Vehicle Charging Station Tax Credit

  3. Energy Storage Income Tax Credit

  4. IRBs for Energy Storage

The GOP House Floor Substitute would have ensured no tax increases and cuts taxes by more than $1.1 billion in FY 2023 and FY 2024.


Unfort

This bill passed the house 50 – 18. I voted no.


SB 64/a – No Life Sentence For Juveniles


This bill prohibits sentences of life without the possibility of release or parole for juvenile offenders (14 – 17 years old). It provides for:

  • Hearing after 25 years if the sentence is for two or more convictions of first-degree murder (willful, deliberate, & premeditated)

  • 20 years if the conviction is for either first degree willful and deliberate murder of first degree murder, depraved mind-murder

  • 15 years if the conviction was related to another qualified provision of the law


House republicans attempted 3 separate floor amendments that were found unfriendly and tabled:

  • Remove possibility of parole to an offender who was convicted of and given an adult sentence for first degree murder in the commission of or attempt to commit criminal sexual penetration

  • Remove possibility of parole to an offender who commits first degree murder during the commission of or attempt to commit another felony

  • Remove possibility of parole to an offender involved in a mass shooting


According to our colleagues on the other side of the isle a life sentence is too harsh for a juvenile because their brains are not yet fully developed and are unable to process logical thinking to understand their decisions.


As a reminder to the reader, these are the same people that say a child as young as 10 years old can make their personal decision, without parental consent, to begin the sex change process.


This bill passed the house 37 – 25. I voted no. It is important to note, there are no juveniles within the New Mexico system that meet any of the conditions of this bill as passed.



HB 345 – Firefighter Recruitment


Creates a non-reverting “firefighter recruitment fund” within State Treasury administered by the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department to recruit firefighters amid a statewide (and nationwide) shortage of firefighters.


This fund has no appropriation. Therefore, without a future appropriation, the $5,000 recruitment disbursement to a new hire would have to be repaid by the firefighter.


This bill passed the house 49 – 16. I voted no.


HB 471 – Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia Council


Creates the Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementia Advisory Council as an attachment to the Aging and Long-Term Services Department. Directs the secretary of the department to appoint each voting member of the council to a term of two years. Provides for composition and duties of the council, including submitting annual reports to the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee, the Legislative Finance Committee and the Office of the Governor.


This bill passed the house unanimously.


SB 4/a – Healthy Universal School Meals


This bill seeks to create the Healthy Hunger-Free Students Bill of Rights Act to provide a free healthy breakfast and lunch to all public school students in New Mexico.


It is important to note that both school systems within District 61 – Lovington and Hobbs Municipal Schools already provide these meals. This legislation and appropriation simply help to offset the costs that the federal program does not provide for.


This bill passed the house unanimously.


SB 9 – Create Legacy Permanent Funds


This bill creates two new non-recurring funds for the purposes of forest and watershed protection. Section 2 creates the Conservation Legacy Permanent Fund (CLPF); Section 3 creates the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund (LELF).


Overall, this bill is 80% (my number) good and would provide for funding for several projects in Lea County.


House republicans attempted a floor amendment that would ensure that none of the $300M would be able to be used for the executives 30 x 30 Executive Order. This amendment was found unfriendly and tabled.


This bill passed the house 54 – 11. I voted no.


SB 310/aa – Crisis Triage Centers


Authorizes specialized mental health units to involuntarily admit people under certain circumstances and law enforcement officers to detain and transport individuals to these units involuntarily.


The bill would create what it calls “Crisis Triage Centers,” defined as a facility licensed by the Department of Health to offer treatment for behavioral health crisis that include in-patient treatment.


This bill passed the house unanimously.


HB 15/ec – Special Immigrant Juvenile Classification


Cited as the Special Immigrant Juvenile Classification Act, the bill provides for jurisdiction of special immigrant juvenile classification. Gives the court jurisdiction to make findings of fact and determinations of law in the best interests of the child for classification as a special immigrant juvenile in all matters that proceedings that involve an abused child, a neglected child or an abandoned child, including child custody, guardianship and abuse and neglect proceedings.


This bill aligns New Mexico with a 1990 Federal Law.


This bill passed the house unanimously.


HB 288 – Closed Captioning Act


Creates the Closed Captioning Act and requires closed captioning to be activated on all televisions in public areas (the public area of any business) during regular hours of business. It also requires the State Attorney General to enforce the Act.


This bill passed the house 50 – 13. I voted no.


HB 462/aa – Nuisance Penalties & Procedures


Amends the Municipal Code relating to nuisances and related penalties. Limits a municipality, including a home rule municipality to the assessment of penalties and fines and prohibits the imposition of additional fees or costs as a part of the penalty. Requires audits; expands contested hearing options. Transfers revenue distribution recipient from the Administrative Office of the Courts and the New Mexico Finance Authority to the General Fund.


This bill passed the house unanimously.


Concurrence:


HB 268/aa – Arroyo Hondo Arriba Land Grant


Adds 21 land grants to be recognized as political subdivisions. In other words, this legislation would allow each of the land grants listed in the bill to access state funding without the taxing that happens at municipal levels.


Voice Concurrence. I did not concur.


HB 130/aa – K-12 Plus Program


This bill originally passed the House on March 7, 2023 (I voted yes). It returned to the House with Senate amendments that allows up to 60 hours to be used for professional work hours in elementary grades and 30 hours to be used for professional work hours in middle and high school.


Voice Concurrence. I concurred.

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